- Mali urged the Wagner Group paramilitary organization to help strengthen security.
- Russian groups have been accused of abuse.
- European countries warned Mali about the move.
Russia’s foreign minister said Mali urged private Russian companies to strengthen security as Mali’s leaders accused France of abandoning conflict-affected countries by preparing a large military drawdown. Confirmed on Saturday.
European nations have warned the Mali government this week to hire paramilitary organizations from the controversial Wagner Group as a bystander to the UN General Assembly.
However, Sergey Lavrov told reporters that the Mali government was looking to “Russian private sector” as Paris reduced its military presence in Mali.
“This is a legal activity,” he said at a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
“We have nothing to do with it,” he added, and the Mali government began discussions, presuming that “without external support, our country’s capabilities would be inadequate.”
The Malian-controlled government in Bamako is reportedly seeking to employ 1,000 Wagner paramilitary organizations.
France warned Mali that hiring fighters from a Russian private security company would isolate the country internationally.
However, Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga accused France of abandoning its country in a “unilateral” decision to withdraw its troops when speaking at the UN General Assembly.
He said his government was justified in “finding other partners” to increase security and accused the French of “lack of consultation.”
The Wagner Group is considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Western nations have accused him of acting on behalf of Moscow.
Russian paramilitary organizations, civilian security instructors and businesses have become increasingly influential in recent years in Africa, especially in the Central African Republic, which suffers from conflicts that the United Nations has accused of abusing Wagner’s contractors.
Moscow admits that it has placed “instructors” in the CAR, but states that they are not active in combat. Russia claims that there is no paramilitary organization in Libya, despite the Western allegations.
The United Nations, which has about 15,000 peacekeepers in Mali, has also expressed concern about the possible involvement of Wagner fighters.
The EU, which trains the Malian Armed Forces through the EUTM Mali mission, which consists of 700 soldiers from 25 European countries, warned that Wagner’s involvement would have a “serious” impact on relations with Bamako.
“Needless to say,’I was there first, get out’, which is, first of all, insulting to the Bamako government, which invited foreign partners,” Lavrov insisted.
France, which has lost 52 soldiers in Sahel since the start of the war in January 2013, regains its military presence centered on closer troops, with a focus on targeted strikes against jihadist leaders and support from local troops. Decided to organize.
Soldiers are expected to leave several bases by the end of the year, and the French army in Sahel should be reduced from about 5,000 today to 2,500 or 3,000 by 2023.
France’s defense minister, Florence Parly, reaffirmed on Monday that France had not abandoned Mali and remained “decided” to continue the war on terror alongside the Malian army.
Germany, which also has an army in the country, warned Bamako to reconsider its deployment if the government signed an agreement with Wagner.
Already fighting the jihadist rebellion, Mali fell into political turmoil in 2020 and culminated in a military coup against President Ibrahim Bubakar Keita in August 2020.
Under the threat of sanctions, the military subsequently appointed a provisional civilian government tasked with returning the country to democratic control.
However, colonel Assimi Goita, a powerful military figure, defeated the leaders of the interim government in May with a second Pucci, and was later declared the interim president himself and received international criticism.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a reduction in troops in July following the aftermath of a second coup.
After the press conference, Lavrov sharply criticized Paris and Berlin in his speech at the Annual Meeting.
He accused them of imposing a vision of the world on the rest of the globe without considering different opinions.
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Mali approaches “Russian private sector” and accuses France at UN
Source link Mali approaches “Russian private sector” and accuses France at UN